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‘Novak Djokovic came closest last year. If it’s rarely been done…’: Rafael Nadal opens up on Calendar Slam tilt

Rafael Nadal put all doubts surrounding his Wimbledon participation to rest last Friday when he announced his intention to return to the All England Club after a space of three years. But along with his third title at the Wimbledon, Nadal will be aiming for a bigger slice of history.

In tennis history, only five players have ever achieved the calendar Grand Slam. In men’s tennis, it has happened only twice, the last of it being more than half a century back – Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962 and 1969).

Having won the Australian Open earlier this year, by beating Daniil Medvedev in a five-set thriller in Melbourne, and getting the better of his apprentice Casper Ruud in the French Open final earlier this month, Nadal, for the very first time in his career, will have the chance at bagging a calendar Grand Slam.

Watch: Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic spotted training at Wimbledon a week before Grand Slam event

And a week before the grass-court major kicks off at the All England Club, Nadal had his say on his calendar Grand Slam tilt.

“On the men’s tour, nobody has done the Grand Slam since Rod Laver,” Nadal pointed out during his presser in Mallorca before he left form London. “Novak Djokovic came closest last year. If it’s rarely been done, it’s difficult to contemplate, even more so at 36 years of age.”

Djokovic had come closest to achieving history last year when he had bagged the first three Slams of the year before being halted by Medvedev in the US Open final as the Russian lifted his maiden Grand Slam trophy.

Nadal has been a two-time Wimbledon champion having lifted the elusive trophy in 2008 and 2019. This will be his first appearance in the tournament since losing the semi-final to Roger Federer in the 2019.

“I haven’t played on grass for three years, you have to be patient with the progress. Every day I’ve improved and there is one week left of training in London before starting the tournament. I hope I can use it to get competitive,” he said.

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